More than 45,600 signatures have been handed to Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton calling for a Cancer Centre in Dubbo.
Rotary Club of Dubbo West member Lyn Smith handed over the signatures to Mr Coulton, which he will present to the Federal Parliament in September.
“There are times in my job when special things happen and this is one of them. I’ll always remember the day that 45,600 signatures were delivered to my office,” Mr Coulton said.
The petition was launched in early May. Three weeks later Mr Coulton promised the federal government would provide $25 million for the cancer centre if re-elected.
However, another $25 million from the state government is still needed.
The federal MP said he was meeting with Dubbo MP Troy Grant and Western NSW local health district chief executive Scott McLachlan on Monday afternoon to progress the funding agreement.
“There’s been a letter sent from the federal government to the state government to start the ball rolling with the funding agreement and that’ll be worked out in the next little while. It’s my understanding that western health are in the process of planning now what the design of this centre will look like,” Mr Coulton said.
He said he expected construction on the centre to start next year.
“To be brutally honest I thought the chances of doing it as quickly as this were quite thin. I thought maybe we’ll start this process and then in three or four years time we might wear down the opposition and get enough support for it,” Mr Coulton said.
From Brewarrina to Nynagn, Mr Couton said he had seen the petition on display in every town in his electorate, highlighting cancer’s widespread affect.
“There’s no one I believe who hasn’t had themselves or a close family friend or family who has been through that process, myself included, and I’m sure this will save lives,” he said.
Ms Smith said she couldn’t have done it without the hundreds of people who collected signatures.
The petitions went farther than expected due to the power of social media, the Rotarian said.
“Now’s the best time to get it, obviously because if the stage three and four development, but if we had built it earlier we would have had worse technology,” she said.
However, it was something that was long overdue, Mr Coulton said.